Miami Dade College’s Virtual College offers optional student orientations available for students who take a Virtual College course for the first time or those who want to refresh their knowledge of the LMS and online learning. This no tuition, no fee, no credit course is promoted in the course offerings section of the Virtual College website, and through emails to students who are registered for an online course. Many faculty members, who recognize the value of the orientation, have required its completion as a course assignment. The goal is to provide students who are considering online learning an opportunity to prepare to be successful in Virtual College by enrolling and completing the orientation.
An integral part of the orientation are SmarterMeasure’s student self-assessments. Students are able to identify readiness for online learning. Students recognize potential challenges and identify ways to overcome them.
A detailed report is available for students to view and analyze after the completion of the following sections:
- - Life factors
- - Personal attributes
- - Technical competency
- - Reading recall
- - Learning style(s)
At the end of the orientation, students complete a reflection assignment to summarize their learning style, identify weaknesses and how the resources and tools provided will assist them in successfully completing an online course.
Many institutions have developed best practices to reach out to students, based on the SmarterMeasure score reports. These strategies are tailored for students whose scores are considered questionable or failing according to national averages. As of the Fall 2011-1 Term, the Virtual College developed a best practice of using the assessment results as an opportunity to deliver retention initiatives by sending information on several academic resources. The Virtual College sends students an email through SmarterMeasure with valuable information about MDC and SmarterMeasure academic resources (message attached to this email). These messages offer several tools to help students reach their goal of academic success. Some students have responded to these emails to discuss score reports and to request more information on specific resources.
MDC’s Virtual College Usage: